Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org
Iranians hold in extremely low regard: the U.S. government, ISIS, Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, and international terrorism, but their opinions of the American people are remarkably higher than their opinions of the American government — they don’t believe that America’s government represents the American people, at all. They think it represents instead the American aristocracy (which it does). And they detest ISIS and other terrorist and terrorist-supporting groups for the same reason they detest bin Laden: they don’t share the jihadists’ view of what Islam is. And yet, as Shiites, instead of (as the Sauds are) Sunnis, they also are more committed to their religion than they are to their country, whereas the citizens of the Sunni nations (especially Saudi Arabia), which is where the 9/11 terrorists and almost all other Islamic terrorists come from, view themselves more as citizens of their particular Sunni Sharia-law nation, than as being citizens of any particular nation.
Before the detailed poll-results showing Iranians’ opinions of the U.S., and of ISIS and other jihadist groups, are presented, the context behind these Iranian opinions — the source of them — will be described here, because Iranians’ fear and loathing of the U.S. government is largely driven by what the U.S. government did to Iran, and by the U.S. government and its aristocracy’s ‘news’ (propaganda) media systematically misinforming Americans to fear both Iranians and the Iranian government (and so, for example, Iran is on President Trump’s — originally Obama’s — 7-nation banned list, reflecting the viewpoint of the U.S. government and its ‘news’ media, despite the actual fact that Iran had nothing to do with 9/11 nor with any other terrorism or aggression of any sort in either the U.S. or Europe), and because Iranians despise the U.S. government on account of actual and continuing U.S. aggression against Iran. In other words: to understand Iranians’ low opinions about the U.S. government, one needs to understand the relevant history.
Back in 1953, our aristocracy overthrew Iran’s democratically elected progressive democratic government in 1953, and U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower’s Administration installed a fascist dictatorship there, which was maintained in power by infamous torture-chambers, which were continued on after the U.S.-imposed stooge-regime finally became overthrown by the Iranian public in 1979 — but this new regime was installed in an authentic revolution: no foreign coup, such as the U.S. had done to Iranians in 1953. Today’s Iranian government is actually a domestic continuation of the dictatorship that the U.S. and UK (led by Alan Dulles’s man Kermit Roosevelt) imposed upon Iranians in 1953, and Iranians resent it — they resent their continuing lack of freedom. This is also one of the reasons why Iranians are far less committed to their existing government than are the citizens of the Sunni Islamic regimes (such as in Saudi Arabia), which are allied with (instead of opposed by) the U.S. government.
Furthermore, the U.S. government was allied with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq when Saddam was gassing Iranians. The CIA-edited website wikipedia notes (using the passive tense so as to hide that the U.S. was supporting Saddam Hussein at that time) that, “Support to Iraq was given via technological aid, intelligence, the sale of chemical and biological warfare technology and military equipment, and satellite intelligence. While there was direct combat between Iran and the United States, it is not universally agreed that the fighting between the US and Iran was specifically to benefit Iraq.”
In more recent times, the U.S. government has imposed severe economic sanctions against Iran, and — just as has happened in other countries such as Iraq and Cuba that had long suffered such sanctions — the result has been economic hardship, or increased economic hardship, for the nation’s population. Economic sanctions imposed by a country, when they are not in response to authentic aggression against that country, are a form of aggression. Those sanctions are aggression instead of self-defense. One might reasonably debate whether or not the aggression was justified — such as, for example, in the case of the economic sanctions that forced the White South African aristocracy to end its apartheid policy against the nation’s own Black majority — but it still is aggression. (And, after all, the U.S. government is allied with, instead of imposing economic sanctions against, Israel’s apartheid government.) The United States government’s grounds for imposing economic sanctions against Iran are extremely dubious, especially while the U.S. government allies itself with the Saud family’s barbaric dictatorship over Saudi Arabia, and with many other dictators — alliance with them, instead of economic sanctions against them. Obviously, the American aristocracy pulls the wool over its public’s eyes in order to ‘justify’ its international policies. And this has its impact upon the way that Americans see the victims of those policies (which are supposedly on their behalf).
For the past three years, nearly 60% of Americans have volunteered to respond to this ceaseless propaganda by mentioning only four countries — North Korea, Iran, Russia, and China — when asked by Gallup (open-ended) “What one country anywhere in the world do you consider to be United States’ greatest enemy?” Below these four (in which Iran was tied with North Korea in 2014 as being mentioned by more Americans than any other country), are two countries, each accounting for around another 5% of respondents: Syria, and Iraq (two countries that the U.S. has bombed in recent times) are mentioned by a total of about 10% of Americans. All others of the world’s nearly 200 nations together, are mentioned in a total of only 11%-15% of instances; so, the U.S. public sees only those six — and especially those four nations — as being America’s “greatest enemy.” Whereas Iranians have sound reasons to fear America’s government, Americans have no sound reasons to fear either Iran’s government or Iran’s people.
There was no hostility at all, of the American people toward Iran, until our aristocracy overthrew Iran’s democratically elected progressive democratic government in 1953. That was the key event, on both sides.
In the late 1970s, U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s emphasis on human rights meant that he broke with Presidents from Eisenhower onward who supported the stooge no matter what, and who supported him especially because he was America’s biggest arms-buyer, but Carter’s non-support of the stooge helped facilitate the revolution, and yet the new leaders in Tehran did everything they could to cause Carter to lose his re-election campaign in 1980 — Carter actually was punished by them, for doing good to them.
Part of that Iranian revolution in 1979 entailed imprisoning inside the U.S. Embassy in Tehran the U.S. employees, for 444 days, and the new Iranian government released them only on Ronald Reagan’s Inauguration Day, allegedly as a result of Iran hostage crisis negotiations between the Carter Administration and Iran when the incoming U.S. President Ronald Reagan was vastly more anti-Iranian than President Carter had been — in other words, so as to punish Carter for not being as bad to them as Reagan was promising to be. Supposedly, Reagan scared the Ayatollah into releasing the hostages, and Khomeni released them because he was afraid of Reagan. (Fools can believe anything, and therefore many ‘historians’ believe this — that it was coincidence — that the release of the hostages coincidentally happened just before Reagan’s inauguration.)
The new Iranian government actually had arranged even before the 4 November 1980 election, the hostages’ release; this was not determined only immediately before the inauguration. The Ayatollah’s people negotiated it with Reagan’s people; they secretly promised the Reagan-campaign team not to release the hostages until his inauguration (which delay was arranged by the Reagan team so that Carter would lose the election) (and, perhaps, it was delayed till Inauguration Day also so that Reagan, instead of Carter, would get the credit — at least in the minds of Republicans — for freeing them). The U.S. government’s mainstream (i.e., U.S.-aristocracy-owned) media dismissed that actual history (of the 1980 U.S. Presidential campaign), as being merely the “October Surprise conspiracy theory”, and proceeded instead upon the assumption that the release of the hostages on Reagan’s Inauguration Day was just a coincidence; but, even the wikipedia article on “October Surprise conspiracy theory” includes links to exposés of frauds by persons (such as Andrew Sullivan) who were supposedly exposing the fraudulence of the conspiracy-historical account — which has never been disproven and is at least a credible account of the matter (which the coincidence-‘historical’-account is not). The U.S. major media simply prefer the ‘coincidence’ theory, over the ‘conspiracy’ theory — as if conspiracies are extraordinary instead of ordinary at the top of large corporations, political campaigns, and many other organizations where a team, at the top, has to coordinate their actions privately with one-another, in order to be successful — as if an executive team without a strategy and a strategic plan makes sense, at all (which it does not). And, of course, hiding the real history is thus often the norm, instead of the exception, among the aristocracy-owned ‘news’media. And, for the ‘news’media to play along with that is for them to be accessories-after-the-fact, instead of actual journalistic organizations — they’re then propagandists, instead of actual journalists.
Carter’s efforts to serve the American public were foiled. He had been left with the thankless task of dealing with the blowback from Eisenhower’s fateful 1953 tyranny upon the Iranian people, and from Ike’s successors’ continuation of that regime. And, largely as a result of that blowback, Carter had the lowest overall job-approval rating of any recent President. Reagan’s con of the U.S. public was backed by the U.S. aristocracy, and so it worked.
Carter also brought Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Menachem Begin together at Camp David to produce the Camp David Accords, which finally established peace between Egypt and Israel, but ultimately at the cost of Saddat’s being assassinated soon after Carter left office. People throughout the Islamic world despised Sadat for abandoning the cause of the Palestinians; and, especially in Shiite Iran, Sadat’s assassins “are celebrated as martyrs for assassinating a president deemed to be a traitor.”
In contrast to the United States’s having conquered Iran by coup in 1953, the U.S. government has been allied with the Saud family ever since 1945, when U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt met with King Saud to establish a handshake agreement between the two countries in which the U.S. military would protect the Sauds, and the Sauds would provide U.S. oil firms with their oil, which was — and still practically is — the world’s largest oil reserves. This has been incredibly profitable for the Saud family, because they have always made more money per barrel than any other country on account of theirs being the world’s third-from-lowest-cost-per-barrel to produce, and the world’s largest oil reserves, which is the combination that makes the Saud family by far the world’s giants of crude oil. (Actually, Russia barely edges out Saudi Arabia for the highest producing-volume, but the Sauds’ production-cost is only $5, whereas Russia’s is $7.60. The U.S. has the third-highest volume, but its production-cost is $13.50. Almost all of the cheapest production costs, among all of the 43 producing countries, are oil from Middle Eastern countries; the cheapest 8 — each country being below $6/barrel — are: Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran, Turkmenistan, Ecuador, and UAE.)
The Saud family own Saudi Arabia, and lead each of the other Arabic royal families, of Kuwait, Oman, UAE, and Qatar. Qatar is even bigger in gas than in oil; it ties with Russia as having the world’s highest gas-reserves; so, the petro-giants are: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar. And, if Iran is freed by U.S. allies to compete, then Iran, which is #3 in gas reserves, would be one of the big four.
In other words: Shiite-run Iran is allied with Russia’s government, whereas the Sunni-run Arabic countries, especially Saudi Arabia, ally with the U.S. government. So, we have the non-sectarian Russian government allied with Shia-run Muslim countries, while the non-sectarian U.S. government is allied with Sunni-run Muslim countries.
The U.S. government is allied with the Sunni countries and especially with Saudi Arabia and Qatar (both of which royal families consider Iran to be their “existential” threat and enemy) even though almost all of the financing for jihadist organizations comes from the owners of those countries (those same royal families); and, in fact, this fact — those royal families being the world’s top funders of jihadist groups — is known and recognized to be a fact by America’s leadership (though it is hidden from the U.S. public by the American aristocracy’s ‘news’media). Even thirteen years after the 9/11 attacks against the U.S. by a team of 19 jihadists — 15 of whom were Saudis — the former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was saying in an email to her friend John Podesta on 17 August 2014, that “we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL [ISIS] and other radical Sunni groups in the region.” And the 9/11 operation specifically was financed by the Saud family; and, as Osama bin Laden’s bagman who picked up each and every one of the million-dollar-plus cash donations to Al Qaeda up till 9/11 said, “Without the money of the — of the Saudi — there would have been nothing” of Al Qaeda. But, yet, Obama blamed 9/11 on the Iranian government (which had nothing to do with it), and did everything he could to block any investigation of the Sauds’ involvement (which he, like George W. Bush before him, knew to have been decisive in 9/11). The American government is allied with America’s enemies — the people behind the 9/11 attacks and jihadism throughout the U.S and Europe (including in Russia) — but this fact is kept out of America’s press.
So, here are the resulting attitudes of the Iranian people:
CISSM (The Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland)
A public opinion study | January 2016
P.25: By 63% to 31%, Iranians agree “Iran should send military personnel to Syria”
P.26: 87% support fighting ISIS
P.29: “How sincere do you think each of these countries are in countering ISIS:
Saudi Arabia 12%
P.32: “To what degree do you have a favorable or an unfavorable view of:
Saudi Arabia 11%
P.33: “To what degree do you have a favorable or an unfavorable view of the:
U.S. Gov’t. 10%
American People 53%
Gallup, 16 July 2002
“Opinion of United States Among Iranians”
Percent “Favorable”: 14%.
“Iranians’ Perceptions of the United States”: “More specifically, a majority of Iranians view the United States as ‘aggressive’ (76%), plagued with a ‘high rate of crime’ (73%), ‘ruthless’ (70%), ‘conceited’ (61%), ‘arrogant’ (55%) and ‘easily provoked’ (also 55%).”
No opportunity was provided there to distinguish between Iranians’ opinions of the United States versus Iranians’ opinions of the U.S. government. However, the adjectives “conceited” and “arrogant” have been commonly applied to aristocrats throughout human history; and the %favorable, 14%, could conceivably have been resulting from something like the 2016 poll’s 10% “Favorable” for “U.S. Gov’t.” combined with 29% “Favorable” for “U.S.” On the other hand, the difference between the 2002 and the 2016 polls could have been due, instead, or also, to changes in Iranians’ perceptions during those 14 years, or to methodological differences between the two polling-organizations.
CISSM, 16 January 2007
“View of Osama bin Laden”: Favorable 10%, Unfavorable 74%.
“View of Taliban”: Favorable 6%, Unfavorable 80%.
“Threat Perception” of “international terrorism”: Important 70%, Not important 12%.
“Do you think that the war in Iraq has increased, decreased, or had no effect on the likelihood of terrorist attacks around the world?”: “Increased the likelihood” 75%, “Decreased the likelihood” 6%, “Had no effect on the likelihood” 7%.
“Which of the following statements do you agree with the most? I think of myself” “Primarily as a citizen of Iran” 27%, “Primarily as a member of my religion” 62%, “Primarily as a member of my ethnic group” 4%, “Primarily as an individual” 4%.
Those findings can be compared with:
Zogby polls citizens of Sunni Arab regimes, 2016
“When you think of who you are, what is your principal source of identity?” In all of the U.S.-allied (which all are Sunni-majority) Arab countries — Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Egypt, and Tunisia — only 3% to 25% answer “My religion,” but 57% to 90% answer “My country.” And yet, only in Saudi Arabia — where 90% answered “My country” to that question — did the majority categorize themselves as being “a very religious person.” So, the country where nationalism was the highest, was also the country where religiosity was the highest.
“To what extent do you think that groups like ISIS and al Qaeda are a perversion of Islam?” The highest percentage that answered either “mostly right” (5%) or “not a perversion at all” (1%) were Jordanians, because The West supports the adjoining Israeli apartheid state. The second-highest was UAE (3% “mostly right” and 1% “not a perversion at all”). Each of the others was below a total (for both categories combined) of 2%.
So, even in the nations (the Sunni nations) that supply virtually all jihadists, and whose aristocracies provide all of the funding for jihadist groups, the vast majority of the public opposes, instead of supports, jihad. The aristocracy supports jihad, but the public overwhelmingly does not. The public doesn’t support it anywhere.
Iranians loathe the U.S. government because the U.S. government and its press that’s owned by the same aristocracy who control the government, grossly misrepresent what the source of jihadism, in modern times, actually is. It’s the U.S. aristocracy and the Saudi aristocracy, who got the support of the Pakistani aristocracy to start international jihadism in 1979 in Afghanistan, and they don’t regret it and have never apologized for it, to this day, but instead continue doing it, not only in countries such as Syria, but even inside the United States.
So: that’s why Iranians have the views that were expressed in those polls.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.